Here's the latest gossip from the surprisingly catty world of Sunday morning talk shows: According to Page Six, Meet the Press plans to replace host David Gregory soon after the midterms, as viewership has dropped 43 percent since he took the job. "The discussion is whether to make a change before or after the midterm elections," said an NBC source. "Just after the midterms would give the new moderator time to settle in." An NBC spokesperson responded, "We heard the same false rumors and suggest you take them with a grain of salt, as we did." That's probably good advice, as the item also mentions Joe Scarborough as a potential successor. Meet the Press would have a lot of fun doing that psychological evaluation.
A year ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced with much fanfare that he was forming an investigatory panel, known as the Moreland Commission, to address reports of rampant corruption in Albany. Cuomo declared that the commission would be "totally independent," and could even investigate his administration. "Anything they want to look at, they can look at — me, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, any senator, any assemblyman," he said. The reality was very different. Cuomo abruptly shut down the commission in March, prompting Manhattan's U.S. attorney to take up its unfinished investigations into criminal activity in the state legislature, as well as accusations that Cuomo meddled with the commission's probe. Now the New York Times is giving prosecutors a hand. During a three-month investigation, the paper found extensive evidence of how Cuomo's office successfully objected anytime the commission focused on the governor or his associates.
The NYPD doesn't think that the placement of two white American flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge last night has anything to do with terrorism, but it's definitely not thrilled about yet another stunt involving a security breach at a New York landmark. "Needless to say, no matter what the motive was, it is a matter of concern," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said at a press conference on Tuesday. "I am not particularly happy about the event." Officials said surveillance footage shows a group of about five people walking over the bridge just after 5 a.m. A short time later, the lights on each tower went out and the usual flags were replaced with 20-foot-by-11-foot American flags that had been bleached white. "This may be somebody’s art project, or it may be an attempt at making some kind of statement — but at this point it’s not clear what that statement is," said Deputy Commissioner John Miller.
I asked Bill de Blasio if he thought something fundamental had changed, if nearly two decades of decreasing crime in the city was a permanent improvement. “You can’t say anything is irreversible,” de Blasio said. “I think we can say it is structural, however. Meaning, over three different mayors and five or six different police commissioners, we’ve seen steady progress. And a lot of the tools we have now—Compstat, focused deterrence, gang intervention, some of the technology we have—that’s forever, that’s not going away…We’ve made a lot of progress, and I think we can deepen it, if we get the relationship between police and community right again.”
That was last August, when de Blasio was a candidate. Last week Mayor de Blasio got his first big reminder of just how difficult the reality of public safety is, and how much depends not on objective tools but on the judgment of individuals. Eric Garner resisted arrest. Officer Daniel Pantaleo wrapped his right arm around Garner’s neck and wrestled him to the ground. The responsibilities aren’t equal, but the sum of those two choices was a tragedy—Garner died.
Michael Bloomberg is steamed about the FAA's decision earlier today to halt U.S. flights in or out of Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv after a rocket landed nearby, so he's decided to stage a protest in a manner befitting a billionaire. "This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel," the former New York mayor said on his website. "Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel." Naturally, Bloomberg owns a private jet, but apparently he's so passionate about this issue that he's willing to fly commercial. Being the real-life Mr. Monopoly is tougher than it looks.
TMZ has the latest scoop on the woman who was once almost vice-president of the United States. Last week a Wasilla police officer busted Palin for driving her Toyota Tundra 63 mph in a 45 mph zone. Does she regret breaking the rules? No, sir! "I wasn't speeding, I was qualifying," she explained (as one would for a NASCAR race), adding that listening to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" was a contributing factor in the incident. Palin ended up with a $154 ticket, which we're sure she'll pay, assuming she doesn't hear "Runnin' With the Devil" anytime in the next few days.
We interupt this day (week? month ...) of terrible news to bring you a very important moving image of 16-year-old Dante de Blasio steering a boat like a boss off the coast of Naples, his mayor dad in tow. Or, if you will, "Bill De Blasio e il figlio Dante in gommone a Capri," because it sounds even better that way.
The NYPD would appreciate the public's help in solving yet another problem created by the staff of Rikers Island: On July 15, a 23-year-old inmate named Kimmanie Waisome was released from the prison even though his sentence is not up until July 15 of next year. It reportedly took the Department of Correction three days to notice the mistake.
This Guy Is Probably the Only Cross-Dressing Assumed Murderer Once Played by Ryan Gosling to Ever Get Arrested for Peeing on Candy at CVSBy Joe Coscarelli
When we last checked in on Robert Durst, the millionaire NYC real-estate heir whose colorful past, immortalized in the Ryan Gosling film All Good Things, includes a trail of dead bodies and some women's clothing disguises, he'd moved back to the city to live next to a funeral home. These days, apparently, he's back in Texas (where he killed his 71-year-old neighbor and got off on self-defense) but just can't seem to stay out of trouble.
As you have probably noticed, our streak of pleasant summer weather ended today when a thick cloud of smog rolled into town. The haze isn't just ugly and oppressive — it's also dangerous. With the Air Quality Index at an unofficially "unhealthy" 110, the National Weather Service has issued an alert advising New Yorkers to avoid "strenuous outdoor physical activity" until 10 p.m. (People with conditions such as asthma or heart disease should be extra careful.) On the upside, this gives anyone who doesn't go on a run tonight an opportunity to feel smug about their healthy choice.